Photo: Courtesy of Mark Endres
A 'Bumper' Crop of Faith Suddenly Gets Sticky
By Mark Endres
Outside the Catechism and Holy Bible, St. Faustina's Diary is the greatest book I've ever read. This book — written in the 1930s by a young Polish nun who had extraordinary visions of Jesus, who spoke of His abundant, unlimited mercy available to even the greatest sinners — has brought me to deeper understanding of my faith.
Like many, I grew up in a large Catholic family. But after leaving home as a young adult, my devotion to God was pretty much confined to going to church on Sundays and saying a few Hail Mary's before I fell asleep.
But after reading the Diary, I could no longer be a "cafeteria" Catholic. I am still a sinner, as we all are, but the Diary has made me face the truth. Sin is always offensive to God, and cannot be rationalized away. The 10 Commandments are just that — 10 commandments, not 10 "suggestions."
As the Bible says, we are not capable of understanding God's laws based on our limited, brief human existence. That would be a terrible mistake based in pride. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Prov 3:5-6).
Trust in the Merciful Lord is the very heart of the Divine Mercy message. That's why I have been inspired to spread this message to others. This is my story:
One day, I looked in my mailbox, and I found a copy of Marian Helper magazine. One of the articles was about a man who had recently put up Divine Mercy billboards — that is to say, billboards that prominently display the image of Jesus as The Divine Mercy, with the words "Jesus, I trust in You!" I had seen a large Divine Mercy billboard while driving across South Dakota several years ago. Ever since, I had wanted to do the same: to publicly display the image of The Divine Mercy.
Why? Because Jesus commands it. Jesus said to St. Faustina: "I desire that the image be publicly honored" (Diary, 414).
Jesus said: "By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls" (Diary, 742).
Because of the financial cost involved, billboards were out of the question. So I started putting up Divine Mercy posters at our local university campus. Since there are many flyers on street corners that advertise sex-crazed movies, bars, and bands, I thought a Divine Mercy poster in their midst could save a few souls. So each Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., I put up several Divine Mercy posters on my way to work.
Eventually, I began to notice bumper stickers on the back of cars — religious ones, political ones, sentimental ones. On any given day, almost 25 percent of the cars I saw on the way to work had a bumper sticker. It occurred to me that with bumper stickers, I could "publicly" help carry out the request of Jesus. Best of all, I didn't need thousands of dollars to do so.
I contacted the Marians of the Immaculate Conception and was able to acquire a licensing contract for the "Hyla" version of The Divine Mercy image. But as I researched printing, graphics, paper quality, and selling on the Internet, the project began to take up more time than I had expected. Between family, work, church, and other daily responsibilities, I was getting burnt out by the whole thing. I finally told the Lord "I quit."
I simply was no longer able to discern if this project was my will, or His.
At that point, I remembered the words of Our Lady to St. Faustina: "You have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as merciful Savior, but as a just Judge ... speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still the time for granting mercy ... be faithful to the end. I sympathize with you" (Diary, 635).
My conscience nagged me. In prayer, I told Jesus that if He really wanted me to continue, I would need a "sign."
So several weeks later, while driving to work, I saw a generic "Jesus" bumper sticker ahead of me. Of course, I was curious to read it, but it contained a lot of words, and I was not able to read all of it. However, what I could see shocked me — actually, it scared me. The bumper sticker contained these words: "If you refuse to help Jesus by not placing a bumper sticker on your car, you will be accountable to many lost souls on judgment day...."
So God had answered my prayers, as usual, when it really mattered. And He did not mince words. As the saying goes, "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while."
This was similar to an experience I had a couple years ago. I'm a big fan of the late Fr. Solanus Casey, and I often pray for his intercession. He was a "simplex" priest (a priest who cannot administer the sacrament of penance or preach formally). He was known for his humility, holiness, and physical healing abilities. Several years ago, while asking Fr. Solanus for his intercession, I saw a license plate in front of me that said "simplex." So after that day, I no longer doubted the ability of God to communicate overtly with us, even through a license plate.
Within a day of the bumper sticker incident, I contacted my friend Ron Wolf, a talented graphic artist, who designed the bumper stickers for me — in English and in Spanish. My brother-in-law, John Murphy, a printer, offered his expertise in printing the stickers.
With their help, I was able to put together and order several thousand Divine Mercy bumper stickers. They are on my website at divinemercydevotion.com. They have been purchased by individuals, conferences and churches all over the world, even though I have done little advertising. We also have license plate holders that say "Jesus, I Trust in You."
Can one bumper sticker really make a difference? Does Jesus work miracles or answer a prayer through a bumper sticker? I can tell you, unequivocally, "Yes!"
Several weeks ago, I received a very happy e-mail from two nice ladies who had been working on an upcoming Divine Mercy conference in California. They had wanted Divine Mercy bumper stickers for the conference, but had not been able to find them. Then while driving in traffic a week or so before the conference, one of the ladies, while praying the Rosary, saw the words "Jesus, I Trust in You" on a license plate holder in front of her.
She was able to get out of her car and knock on the person's window to get our web address. How miraculous! With less than three days before the Divine Mercy conference, we were able to send several hundred bumper stickers to them in time for their conference.
God answered their prayers. Jesus performs many miracles. Sometimes, they're even "awesome," as Mother Angelica says.
Jesus told St. Faustina: "Do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My mercy ..." (Diary, 1074).
I believe that Jesus is true to His word. His mercy comes in many forms. A bumper sticker can make a person's day and lift their spirits. It may even help a person decide not to have an abortion, divorce their spouse, or commit adultery. God's mercy is always perfect, in His time, in His way. What's nice about The Divine Mercy image is that it's "universal" to all Christians and to all people of good will.
In one year's time, I estimate my little Saturn will introduce the Divine Mercy image to at least 1,500 new people, based on my daily driving. One thousand bumper stickers could easily be seen by almost 2 million people in a year's time. One lady recently got so excited when she saw my bumper sticker, she started honking her horn and waving at me. I must have made her day.
It is very gratifying for me to see the words "Jesus, I Trust in You" while driving in the Madison area. I recently saw one at a church picnic. It doesn't take much to evangelize when a Divine Mercy bumper sticker or license plate holder is on your car.
Our goal is not to sell bumper stickers or license plate holders simply for the sake of selling a product. I've been asked about making other "Jesus" stickers, etc., and have said no. Our little apostolate is only about promoting Divine Mercy. As Jesus tells St. Faustina, there is a great urgency for mankind to turn back to God and ask for His mercy and grace. He says time is running out.
"Speak to the world about My mercy," Jesus told St. Faustina (Diary, 848). "... It is a sign of the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice."
Can we change the world with our little bumper stickers, the "mini billboards"? I don't know. But as Mother Angelica says, we sometimes have to do the ridiculous for God to perform the miraculous.
Why do you call Me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great. (Lk 6:46-49)
Mark Endres lives in Madison, Wis.